Re: MD The Individual Level

From: Platt Holden (
Date: Fri Apr 16 2004 - 16:30:49 BST

  • Next message: Platt Holden: "Re: Re: MD The Individual Level"

    Hi Mark, Sam:

    >> Platt (previously)
    > > Although I didn't understand most of the exchange between Sam and Mark,
    > > it prompted me to take another look at Sam's essay entitled 'The
    > > Eudaimonic MOQ' in the Forum.
    > >
    > > There I discovered (having forgotten it) Sam's
    > > recasting of the Intellectual Level based on the distinction between the
    > > individual and society. He wrote:
    > >
    > > "To my way of thinking, the essence of the fourth level is the existence
    > > of an autonomous individual: autonomous because the individual is (for
    > > the first time) capable of establishing their own laws by which to act
    > > (auto nomos).
    > > Mark 14-4-04:
    > > Hello Platt, Sorry to butt in uninvited, but i think i can
    > > clear this up for you? Sam's view does not coincide with Robert Pirsig's
    > > view. And here is why:
    > >
    > > Sam writes, "the essence of the fourth level is the existence of an
    > > autonomous individual." First, let us examine what an individual is in
    > > the MoQ. An individual Human being is composed of four evolutionary
    > > related levels of static value: 1. The Inorganic. 2. The Organic. 3. The
    > > Social. 4. The Intellectual. The MoQ, as outlined in Lila tells us quite
    > > specifically that each new level has virtually nothing to do with the
    > > lower level. Each new level is a pattern of behaviour all of it's own.
    > Yes, but at the same time, each level is completely dependent upon the
    > lower level for its health and survival. That's where the 'coherence' comes
    > in. :-)
    > Mark 15-4-04: Agreed. However, let us imagine a juggler juggling four balls
    > numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4? Let us view this activity as a unitary whole? We
    > may say that four ball juggling is in a coherent state. The fourth ball
    > needs the others to maintain its place in the coherent state, but the
    > fourth ball is NOT the other three balls? It is the character of four ball
    > coherence which depends on the participation of ball number four
    > accompanying the other three. Three ball coherence is a different character
    > but it is still coherent? And that is basically my argument about the
    > individual; individuality is coherence, but the character of that coherence
    > changes with intellectual participation. Without intellectual
    > participation, individuality is still possible, but of the celebrity social
    > character.

    I can't imagine a normal individual human being 'without intellectual
    participation.' No celebrity required . . . just someone who thinks and
    exercises her right to express herself freely.

    > > Therefore, the essence of
    > > the fourth level is not [1+2+3] = 4th level. Again, the essence of the
    > > third level is not [1+2] = 3rd level. And similarly, the essence of the
    > > second level is not [1+?] = 2nd level.
    > Since each level depends on those below it for its existence, I would say
    > that the essence of the fourth level is indeed 1+2+3+4 comprising an
    > individual.
    > Mark 15-4-04: I disagree Platt.
    > I suggest the essence of an individual may be said to be it's coherence as
    > a stable relationship between static [level 1, 2, 3 and 4] patterns and DQ.
    > You are suggesting the Individual is the fourth level. I feel your view is
    > incoherent with the MoQ as presented in Lila, SODV and other sources.

    My view is that the levels are primarily defined by their ability to
    dominant lower levels and that the Individual Level has emerged because it
    has the capability to dominate the social level. To quote Pirsig,
    "Although each higher level is built on a lower one it is not an extension
    of that lower level. Quite the contrary. The higher level can often be
    seen to be in opposition to the lower level, dominating it, controlling it
    where possible for its own purposes." (Lila, 12)

    > > Sam is telling us that Autonomous individuals behave autonomously. This
    > > is useless. The MoQ tells us that autonomous behaviour is due to
    > > intellectual patterns of a particular individual challenging the social
    > > patterns of the same individual. (This will become more clear as we take
    > > a better look at Sam's essay extracts which you provide for us below.)
    > > Sam's confusion is due to his fundamental misunderstanding of the MoQ. I
    > > would go further, and suggest that Sam understands the MoQ, but cannot
    > > accept it as it leads to blasphemous conclusions, and must therefore be
    > > changed, hence, the so called, "Eudaimonic MOQ." There is no individual
    > > level.
    > Just to claim someone misunderstands the MOQ (while you do) is not a
    > convincing argument. Nor is it convincing to say "The MOQ tells us that
    > autonomous behavior is due to . . ." without showing us where Pirsig says
    > that or something like that.
    > Mark 15-4-04: In my opinion, Sam misunderstands the MoQ Platt. That is just
    > my opinion and i did not intend it to be a rock solid argument. But Sam
    > tells us that Christianity is separate from the MoQ in his view? Now, if
    > the MoQ is a description of everything in terms of value, then
    > Christianity, being something, must be included in the MoQ? Right? So, Sam
    > has already shown his understanding of the MoQ to be wobbly? Where does it
    > say that the MoQ is a description of everything? Well, in Lila, as i am
    > sure you remember, the four levels compose our encyclopaedia? Only DQ is
    > left out.

    If Sam says Christianity is separate from the MOQ I think he's wrong.
    Religions are social patterns. But, even if Sam is wrong about that it
    doesn't mean he's wrong about everything in his interpretation of the MOQ.

    >Now on to autonomous behaviour. Sam suggests that autonomous
    > behaviour is very important in Human history. I agree with him. Sam also
    > suggests that autonomous behaviour of the individual challenges social
    > values. This is where is say, "hang on Sam, isn't an individual composed of
    > four levels of patterns evolving in a relationship with DQ?" The answer is,
    > yes. This is stated in Lila. Sam makes a very simple mistake - he
    > misunderstands what an individual is in MoQ terms. The evidence for this is
    > in Lila. If Sam where to suggest that Intellectual patterns did not exist
    > at the time he feels autonomous behaviour became important, the he would be
    > standing on more solid ground? So, was this the case? Now his arguing
    > agrees with me! Autonomous behaviour became important (in a certain way -
    > as that of an individual with intellectual capacity) with the development
    > of intellectual patterns! Why? Not because the individual IS a new level.
    > The individual already existed as a celebrity. No, the individual becomes
    > important in a new way. The individual is now exhibiting the results of
    > tension between social and intellectual patterns which have changed the
    > character of what it is to be a Human individual.

    As indicated above, my view is that the Individual Level emerged when
    individuals, responding to DQ, used their intellectual powers to dominate
    the social level, insisting on freedom from the social level to fully
    utilize their intellects to make value choices. Remember: freedom is DQ's
    highest value. The social level isn't pleased by individuals going their
    own way, and so the battle between the levels still rages, currently
    reflected in the civilized world's war against terrorism.


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